Client Advisory Services (CAS) continues to evolve—progressively moving towards a holistic approach to business finance that includes spend management. Why? Spend management supports the ability to view, control, and manage cash flows in real time. Using the right technology, all company spend data is available in one centralized location, providing decision-makers with actionable, on-demand insights that support informed business decisions and long-term sustainability and success.
Major benefits of spend management
Spend management doesn’t have to be fragmented or complex. But when you think about how many businesses handle company spend today, that’s their reality. A typical client is likely dealing with multiple, siloed spend channels, i.e. personal cards and reimbursements, corporate cards, ACH bill payments, wire transfers, and cash.
One of the primary benefits of spend management is that it enables clients to control spend by empowering employees and business leaders with real-time insight into budgets so they always know where they stand. Advanced technology supports this, providing full visibility from the initial transaction to close.
For accounting firms, spend management advisory enables them to secure and retain top talent. New accounting graduates are looking to deliver value-add services—where they can proactively build relationships with clients. Spend management brings staff in early on advisory-level work.
Firm enablement with spend management
As a forward-thinking CAS practice owner, Steve Chaney, CEO and Owner, Chaney & Associates, knew he needed to find a solution to eliminate manual processes so he could grow and keep both employees and clients happy.
When Chaney started his practice in 2002, his firm operated within a mostly manual model. So manual, in fact, that the firm had a courier service to drive around and collect documents from clients. One of the firm’s main pain points was credit-card tracking. Clients were using corporate or personal credit cards and that meant following a tedious manual process to track expenses, leading to a slow monthly close.
Fast forward to today and Chaney & Associates runs a fully-automated operation since implementing spend management software. Staff love it because they're working within streamlined, uber-efficient workflows. Clients love it because it supports higher-value advisory services and full visibility into data.
The boost in efficiency allows staff to now spend more time supporting clients with advisory services and growing the firm’s client base.
On his integration of spend-management software, Chaney says, “Now we are always in front of spend management instead of behind it. That’s what technology has done for us. My staff can lead clients in real time instead of constantly being 45 days behind.”
Attract and retain skilled staff
In the years before Chaney’s move to an automated environment, staff weren’t exactly thrilled with firm processes. Spend management tasks–like coding and following up on expenses–were time-consuming and frustrating to no end.
For years, a client would request financials for a board meeting, then staff would have to rush - trying to aggregate 45-day-old financial statements. Getting assistance from clients was challenging since they could not provide receipts, credit-card reconciliations, or coding. As a result, staff had to log into disparate client credit card accounts to find needed information.
Today, staff have an organized, real-time dashboard where all their clients are listed and credit cards are managed. Credit card reconciliations are processed weekly so data is always current. Chaney admits that the firm couldn’t have gotten to this point without the technology.
Take your advisor role to the next level with Divvy’s spend-management technology
Steve Chaney offers real-world proof that you can successfully transition away from monotonous, manual processes—no matter how long you’ve been working that way. Spend management provides firms with another high-value advisory service through which they can develop deeper client relationships. Additionally, spend management enables staff to work closely with clients at an advisory level, keeping existing staff happy and creating a competitive advantage with new hires.
So, what is the secret to Chaney’s success in implementing spend management advisory? Technology. Chaney and his staff leverage Divvy, a free integrated software and corporate card from BILL, to reduce expense-management inefficiencies and meet clients’ needs for proactive advice and insights around their company’s spend.